Here are links to press releases about the Telluride Historical Museum and its programs. If you are a reporter and would like to learn more about the museum, we look forward to speaking with you about the museum!
Historic Sheridan Opera House Tour: Behind the Scenes!
Historic Sheridan Opera House Tour: Behind the Scenes!
Take a behind the scenes tour of one of Telluride’s most iconic historic buildings. Every other Wednesday in January, 2, 16, and 30
Telluride, Colorado (Jan. 10, 2013) — Join longtime local George Greenbank for an in-depth look at the historic Sheridan Opera House on your choice of either Wednesday, Jan. 16 or Jan. 30. This popular tour, sponsored by the Telluride Historical Museum and the Sheridan Arts Foundation, gathers at the Opera House at 11 a.m. on each day. Learn the full backstory of Telluride’s Crown Jewel, which originally opened as the Segerberg Opera House. Once a premiere film theater and socialite darling, the building now shares its name with an early mining claim, and its rough footprint with the early lodging provided by the Sheridan Hotel, which burned in a fire in 1906.
The Sheridan has supported children’s theater and fundraising events for local non-profit causes. It can convert to a dance hall, host all sorts of orchestral performances and even the occasional boxing match. The intimacy of the place has made it a magical stage for performing stars as different as Jackie Greene or Sissy Spacek to Los Lobos or Mumford and Sons. A fixture on the Telluride Film Festival’s annual Labor Day circuit, the place hosts business entrepreneurs as well as Zumba enthusiasts, but see for yourself the secret uses of this public treasure. With George’s architectural prowess, one can even appreciate “butter” brick joints!
Listed on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places, seating only 235, (265 if standing), your tour of this Telluride institution can only enrich your appreciation for its storied past and its steadfast commitment to the arts. The tour costs $15 for museum members and $20 for non-members. More information and dates for Wednesday tours in February can be found at www.telluridemuseum.org or by calling 970 728-3344, extension 2.
Historic Sheridan Opera House Tour: Behind the Scenes!January 2013Take a behind the scenes tour of one of Telluride's most iconic historic buildings
Museum Celebrates True Spirit of Christmas
MUSEUM EVENT CELEBRATES TRUE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS
Telluride Historical Museum celebrates the season with Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration at Schmid Ranch
Telluride, Colorado (November 15, 2012) – On Christmas Day, 1908, Harriet Fish Backus, the “Tomboy Bride,” awoke to a gift that would certainly turn the most modern San Juan citizen Christmas-colored with envy: “sparkling diamonds,” from the surface of ten-foot deep snow.
Meanwhile, outside her cabin at Tomboy, equipped with snow shoes, a fleece-lined jacket, fur hat, and, of best of all, a sack of toys slung over her back, “The Spirit of Christmas,” labored from shack to shack without discrimination; the annual ritual of Beth Batchellor, Harriet’s best friend.
On December 8, the Telluride Historical Museum will honor the Spirit of Christmas at the annual celebration at Schmid Ranch from 12-4p.m.
There, at the ranch—a centennial farm that has remained in the Schmid family since the 1880’s—the celebration will include horse-drawn carriage rides, a bonfire, hot chocolate, cowboy coffee, wreath making, Santa Claus and gifts for children. Guests can even cut down their own Blue Spruce tree.
The fourth annual Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration at Schmid Ranch feels like a Norman Rockwell painting. “It’s truly a sincere celebration of the holiday spirit,” said Erica Kinias, executive director of the museum. The event is free, thanks to donations at the event and sponsors like Hotel Telluride, New Sheridan Chop House and Hotel, Peaks Resort and Spa, the Schmid family and Wilkinson Public Library.
Kinias encourages warm clothes, rope to get your tree home and your own mug for the hot beverages.
The museum isn’t completely ignoring the commercial side of the season. During the entire month of December the museum store will host Noel Month, where shoppers can play old fashioned games to win 10 – 50% discounts.
Gifts exchanged amongst the first Telluriders were likely “gloves, warms stockings hats; home baked breads and treats; paper dolls; balls; and simple games like jacks and marbles,” said Kinias.
Today, the museum offers shoppers contemporary items—like beer steins, belt buckles, travel mugs, ceramic tiles and Lisa Issenberg pendants and knobs—that display images from the past, in addition to matted and framed images from museum archives.
The museum also carries great books including local titles: Tomboy Bride, One Man’s West and Rudy’s View, and DVDs documenting Telluride’s past: We Skied It! and YX Factor and fictional past: Scrapple.
For more information about the Old Fashioned Christmas event or about Noel Month, visit the museum online or at the top of Fir St.
As for “sparkling diamonds,” this Christmas, museum can’t make any promises, although historically speaking; at least we know chances are good.
Museum Celebrates True Spirit of ChristmasNovember 2012Telluride Historical Museum celebrates the season with Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration at Schmid Ranch
Lizzy Knight, No Stranger to the Strange
LIZZY KNIGHT, NO STRANGER TO THE STRANGE
Fireside Chat illuminates pioneer rancher of Disappointment Valley
Telluride, Colorado (August 20, 2012) – It’s not often a woman ends up married to her son-in-law. But Lizzy Knight, the first pioneer woman of the Disappointment Valley, was no stranger to the strange.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the Telluride Historical Museum will offer a first-person characterization of Lizzy Knight, performed by Marsha Bankston, a sixth generation descendant of pioneer cattle ranchers Lizzy and Henry Knight.
Bankston, a great, great, great, great granddaughter of the infamous pioneering couple, occupies the original Knight homestead—just southwest of Telluride on the west side of Lone Cone Peak—which has been designated a Centennial Farm by the State of Colorado.
The original Knight cabin still stands and was recently added to the list of “Most Endangered” historical sites in Colorado. Bankston has been working towards restoring the building for public visitation. In May the museum led a field trip to the property.
Bankston is continuing her mother’s work of writing and presenting the personal stories of pioneers, such as Lizzy Knight. Her mother, Wilma Crisp Bankston, authored “Where Eagles Winter: History and Legend of the Disappointment Country.”
The Fireside Chat, “Lizzy Knight, The First Pioneer Woman of the Disappointment Valley,” begins at 5:30p.m. on Wednesday, at the Livery in Norwood and at 5:30p.m. at The Peaks Resort and Spa on Thursday.
Both Chats are free to the public. Both Fireside Chats, the last of the summer season, are sponsored by the Telluride Women’s Network, Shari Seay Mitchell, Norwood Chamber of Commerce and Peaks Resort and Spa.
Lizzy Knight, No Stranger to the StrangeAugust 2012Fireside Chat illuminates pioneer rancher of Disappointment Valley
100 Years of Mountains and Mountaineering
100 YEARS OF MOUNTAINS AND MOUNTAINEERING
Fireside Chat illuminates the brave but happy pioneers of mountaineering
Telluride, Colorado (August 14, 2012) – Inadequate maps, hobnail boots, long skirts for women, cotton clothing—just some of the challenges Colorado’s brave mountaineers faced 100 years ago. On Thursday, the Telluride Historical Museum will honor that history, and the smiling faces pictured in early mountaineering photos, with a special Fireside Chat.
In 1912, the Colorado Mountain Club was born. 100 years later, the organization remains devoted to connecting those who love the Colorado Rockies or who study or seek recreation in them. The 100th anniversary is commemorated with the book, “100 Years Up High: Colorado Mountains and Mountaineers,” which focuses on significant people, events, and developments that made climbing, hiking, and skiing the High Country a great outdoor adventure for hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts drawn from Colorado and beyond.
Co-Author of the book, James E. Fell Jr. is the featured guest speaker at the museum’s Thursday Fireside Chat. His presentation will highlight the book’s illustrations, photographs, significant people, events, and developments that made climbing, hiking, and skiing the High Country a great outdoor adventure for hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts drawn from Colorado and beyond.
You might say Fell is obsessed with history.
He’s worked in both historic preservation and exhibits at the Colorado Historical Society. He is a former Harvard-Newcomen Fellow in Business History at the Harvard Business School and former managing editor of the “Business History Review.”
Since 1990, he has taught at the University of Colorado Denver and is the author of “Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry,” co-author with Stanley Dempsey of “Mining the Summit: Colorado’s Ten Mile District, 1860 – 1960,” and collaborator with Jay E. Niebur on “Arthur Redman Wilfley: Miner, Inventor, and Entrepreneur.”
He is also the author of various articles and many reviews in professional journals, as well as treasurer and former director of the Mining History Association, which awarded him its Rodman Wilson Paul Award for distinction in mining history.
His latest book and focus of Thursday’s Chat celebrates the 100 year history of the Colorado Mountain Club and deals largely with 20th century mountaineering. The book contains about 150 images, many of which, will be featured at the Fireside Chat.
Thursday’s Chat is sponsored by the Peaks Resort and Spa and Andie and Rudy Davison. The Chat begins at 5:30p.m. and is free.
For more information about Fireside Chats, visit the Museum at the top of Fir St. or online at telluridemuseum.org.
100 Years of Mountains and MountaineeringAugust 2012Fireside Chat illuminates the brave but happy pioneers of mountaineering
Fireside Chat Illuminated Colorado Railroading
FIRESIDE CHAT ILLUMINATES COLORADO RAILROADING
Fictional first person characterization at Chats in Norwood and Telluride
Telluride, Colorado (August 8, 2012) — The Rio Grande Southern Railroad first debuted its Ridgway to Rico route in September of 1891. The event was recorded by a local newspaper and the account was later reprinted in the book, “Silver San Juan.” This week the Telluride Historical Museum will bring that story of early Colorado railroading to life with two Fireside Chats, in Norwood and in Telluride.
Steve Lee, an educator and performer from Denver, delivers Fireside Chats presentations via a first-person of characterization of Hiram Wheeler, a fictitious railroad conductor. Lee, dressed in a Denver & Rio Grande Western conductor’s uniform, shares the story about the golden days of Colorado railroading.
This year marks Lee’s second foray as a Fireside Chat presenter. Last year he delivered, to packed audiences, a first person characterization of Otto Mears, famous in the region for pioneering toll roads and railways.
This summer—the seventh season of Fireside Chats—the museum aims to bring their vivid, educational and engaging history presenters to Telluride, Mountain Village and Norwood.
In lieu of special grants, the 2012 Fireside Chats are completely funded by community support, in-kind donations and sponsorships from individuals and organizations.
Wednesday and Thursday’s Chats are sponsored by the Norwood Chamber of Commerce, Peaks Resort and Spa and the Telluride Rotary Club.
Lee’s Fireside Chat, “Hiram Wheeler: Conductor of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad,” will be held on Wednesday in Norwood, at the Livery and again on Thursday, in Telluride, at The Peaks Resort and Spa. Lee’s Chat lasts about 30 minutes, leaving time to answer questions. Both Fireside Chats begin at 5:30p.m. and are free.
For more information about Fireside Chats, visit the Museum at the top of Fir St. or online at telluridemuseum.org.
Fireside Chat Illuminated Colorado RailroadingAugust 2012Fictional first-person characterization at Chats in Norwood and Telluride
Art Walk Features Fireside Chat and Robert Weatherford
“ART WALK FEATURES FIRESIDE CHAT AND ROBERT WEATHERFORD”
Telluride, Colorado (August 1, 2012) – This Thursday, as part of the First Thursday Art Walk, the Telluride Historical Museum will offer its first Fireside Chat of the season and celebrate local artist, Robert Weatherford.
The Fireside Chat will begin at 5:30p.m. at the museum amphitheatre. Wine and cheese will be served while two authors – Charmaine Gets and Carol Turner – spin long tales highlighting Colorado’s colorful past.
Getz author of “Weird Colorado: Your Travel Guide to Colorado’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets,” will speak about the mystery airships of Colorado, quack medicine ads, and Alfred Packer.
Turner, who penned, “Notorious Telluride: Wicked Tales from San Miguel County,” will tell about the “Snowy Adventures of the Millionaire Kid” and “Death by Gold Fever,” the story of the shooting in Ophir of her great Uncle Charlie Turner.
The museum joined the Art Walk route last summer as part of their effort to draw traffic to their temporary exhibits. Currently on display is “Sound and Vision: 125 years of art and music in Telluride.” To round out the body of antique and historical artifacts, each month throughout the exhibit’s run, the museum features a contemporary local artist. Thursday’s Art Walk serves as the premier of Robert Weatherford’s 48” x 60”oil painting, “Mining Tower.”
“This is such a unique piece, mixing mining heritage with the natural landscape,” said Erica Kinias, museum executive director. “It’s truly a great fit for our exhibit.”
Admission during the Art Walk is free and the museum will extend their hours until 8p.m. The museum is located at the top of Fir St.
Image Caption: Robert Weatherford’s “Mining Tower,” on display at the Museum throughout August.
Art Walk Features Fireside Chat and Robert WeatherfordAugust 2012
Museum Seeks Sponsors for Heritage Fest
“MUSEUM SEEKS SPONSORS FOR HERITAGE FEST ”
Museum seeks individuals and businesses to keep Heritage Fest rolling.
Telluride, Colorado (April 18, 2012) –Staff at the Telluride Historical Museum are busy planning for Heritage Fest, June 9-10, while also seeking community support.
Since inception, in 2009, Heritage Fest has been wildly successful, with thousands of families and children of all ages converging on Colorado Ave for free fun including live animals, gold panning and blacksmithing demonstrations, pie eating contests, carriage rides, Ute entertainment and historical reenactments.
According to museum Executive Director, Erica Kinias, there are new opportunities for businesses and individuals to get involved in this year’s celebration.
Like previous years, the main attraction will be the Colorado Avenue and Elks Park activities, including Ute hoop dancing and drumming, mining interactives, old fashioned contests and performances by Telluride Theatre.
The second day of Heritage Fest is an opportunity to visit the Schmid Ranch, a Centennial Farm on Wilson Mesa, about ten miles West of Telluride. The ranch has been in operation since the family homestead in 1882. The Schmid family collaborates with Heritage Fest to share their unique property with the community while showcasing a way of life that honors the land.
In the past, Heritage Fest sponsors included the Sheridan Arts Foundation and the Telluride Visitor’s Bureau. This year the museum is hosting the event without substantial outside financial support. The museum seeks to compensate for the gap left in their wake through in-kind donations, by trimming costs and also offering nine sponsorship levels that vary from a $1500 Ute Chief sponsorship to a $25 Ski Bum sponsorship.
Sponsorships help cover marketing, Ute performances, theatrical reenactments and logistical support. The museum’s goal is $3000. To date sponsors include Telluride Alpine Lodging, The Sweet Life, New Sheridan Hotel and individual donations from Sue & Chuck Cobb and Claybrook Penn. Horror Festival Director, Ted Wilson, has also emerged as a volunteer consultant.
Businesses also have an opportunity to join the festival as vendors on Colorado Ave., June 9. Those interested in sponsorships, volunteering or participating as a vendor should contact Beth Roberts at 970-728-3344×2.
Museum Seeks Sponsors for Heritage FestApril 2012Museum seeks individuals and businesses to keep Heritage Fest rolling
Museum’s New Journal Illuminated the 1970s
“MUSEUM’S NEW JOURNAL ILLUMINATES THE 1970S”
Telluride, Colorado (April 2, 2012) – When Joe Zoline, a onetime corporate lawyer living in Los Angeles, ventured to Telluride in the late 1960s, he found a mining community, nearly three hours from an airport, with a sole gas station—which closed at 5p.m. and never even opened on Sundays. But what Zoline saw were the mountains and miraculously, for he wasn’t a skier, the potential for an unmatched ski resort.
Soon, the good people of Telluride found themselves in the grocery, pharmacy and hardware stores alongside strange, young, long-haired, ski enthusiasts. By 1973 the town was bustling with a ski resort, a bluegrass festival, a robust and zany softball league, a thriving bar scene and a very distraught, six-gun touting, hippie hating, marshal: Everett Morrow. The Telluride Historical Museum’s new publication, “Telluride Tales,” gives light to it all.
Mary Duffy, past editor and chief of “Telluride Magazine,” and “Telluride and Mountain Village Visitor Guide,” took on the project at the bequest of the museum’s former Executive Director, Lauren Bloemsma. “Lauren saw the project as an opportunity to explore Telluride’s history beyond the scope of what could be shared in exhibits, lectures and programs,” said Duffy. “I saw it as a chance to document Telluride’s colorful history and recount stories that are often lost to time.”
Although the 70s have been explored in the documentary film “The YX Factor” and Davine Pera’s oral history collection (housed at the Wilkinson Public Library), this first issue of “Telluride Tales” is presented in print as first person narratives exploring the social crossroads that colored the community during a sometimes painful transition. And yes, there were drugs, sex, rock and roll, and a healthy dose of politics. As Bloemsma said, “It was a time reminiscent of the wild and tumultuous decade a century earlier, when the discovery of gold and silver ushered in the mining era and brought about the end of the Uncompahgre Utes’ domination of the region.”
Contributors to the journal include Gary Bennett, Lucy Boody, Werner Catsman, Kooster McAllister, Billy “Senior” Mahoney, Roudy Roudebush, Jeff Campbell and others. “Telluride Tales,” also features a police report, filed by Everett Morrow the morning following the infamous wet t-shirt contest at the Roma Bar.
“Talking to people who lived it, getting their stories down and developing this project was a lot of fun,” said Duffy. “I only wish I could have printed them all, but that will have to come later.” The topic of the next issue hasn’t been set in stone, but there are hundreds of interesting eras, events and characters to explore. “This is only a kernel of the great tales that are out there,” said Duffy. “For such a little community, with a relatively short history, Telluride is rich in legend and drama.”
Copies of “Telluride Tales,” are available at the Telluride Historical Museum, or receive a free copy by joining the museum’s membership here.
Museum’s New Journal Illuminated the 1970sApril 2012
Crawl, Don’t Walk, Back Into Time
“CRAWL, DON’T WALK, BACK INTO TIME”
The Telluride Historical Museum presents a Historic Pub Crawl to close out the ski season.
Telluride, Colorado (March 27, 2012) – At the turn of the last century you couldn’t swing a saloon girl in Telluride without hitting a watering hole: there were at least thirty-seven. Money and opportunity hung like a carrot on a stick, out of reach for most. Lust was rampant.
The local booster club coined the slogan, “Telluride, the town without a bellyache,” boasting that one could not want for anything in this prosperous mining town.
The town may not have had a bellyache, but it probably had a throbbing head.
Throughout prohibition: you could get a drink just about anywhere, including the Courthouse. During the 1960s, when the hospital and banks closed and only 300 locals remained, the saloons carried on. A decade later, when the ski bums and hippies bellied up, they ushered in a new era of drinking history.
On Thursday, March 29, the Telluride Historical Museum will celebrate the town’s colorful vice with a Historic Pub Crawl, a four stop tour of Telluride’s most raucous haunts.
The Crawl starts with a beer at the Telluride Historical Museum. Next slosh back beers and pizza at The Last Dollar Saloon (historically, the National Club); tour the Sheridan Opera House and Vaudeville Bar; and finish at the Sacred and Holy New Sheridan Bar. All the while, special guests illuminate the long forgotten characters, stories and traditions of Telluride’s pioneer drinkers.
Tickets include a guided tour and beer stein with historic image. Drinks (accept for the first one, at the museum) are not included. Hangovers are on the house!
IF YOU GO: RSVP in advance! $35 tickets 728-3344×2
Crawl, Don’t Walk, Back Into TimeMarch 2012The Telluride Historical Museum presents a Historic Pub Crawl to close out the ski season.
Museum Announces New Executive Director
“MUSEUM ANNOUNCES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR”
Telluride, Colorado (March 22, 2012) – The Telluride Historical Museum today announced the hire of Erica Kinias as Executive Director effective April 1, 2012. Kinias will be replacing Lauren Bloemsma who recently resigned after holding the top post at the museum since April of 2005.
Kinias most recently served as Programs and Grants Manager for the Arizona Humanities Council and has held positions with the Chiddingstone Castle in Kent, England and at the Museum of London. She served as Board Secretary for the Central Arizona Museum Association and as an oral history transcriber and archivist. She has Masters Degree in Museum Studies from the University College London, and an undergraduate degree in History from Arizona State University.
“Kinias is a museum professional with a passion for community outreach,” said museum Board President, Deborah Freedman. “Lauren has set the museum on a great path and laid the groundwork for a smooth transition. Erica is a leader with the strength and vision to steer the museum forward and to the next level.”
Kinias and her husband, Thanasis, will relocate from Arizona, where Mr. Kinias teaches World History at a community college in Phoenix.
When Kinias first visited the Telluride Historical Museum, she felt immediately at home. In fact, she may even have discovered a distant relative in one of Telluride’s most famous residents: L. L. Nunn, a mine owner instrumental in bringing AC current electricity to Telluride. “We’re looking through our family tree,” said Kinias, whose maiden name is Nunn.
Kinias has worked for small museums before. For two years she managed an impressive and diverse collection of Egyptian artifacts; Japanese art and armor; medieval and early modern Buddhist art; and early British paintings and manuscripts at a country house museum in a community with only 17 people.
When Kinias visited Telluride during the interview process, she took the opportunity to ask around about the museum. “Complete strangers opened up to me. They all had wonderful things to say,” she said.
“Museums are magical. They connect people’s everyday lives with the past. I am honored to work with the museum’s talented and dedicated staff and board to share Telluride’s colorful past,” said Kinias.